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Kathy Tofflemire, Published April 21 2009

Parenting Perspectives: Grandma relishes time with grandson

Last week, my older grandson celebrated his 10th birthday.

It is unbelievable to me that it has been a decade since I held him in my arms just minutes after his birth.

Until his mother became a business owner and his brother arrived, both when he was 3½, he and I spent a lot of time together – a great deal of it sitting on the floor.

He just recently recalled all the times we spent building towers out of Mega Bloks. “That was the best,” he says.

His younger brother is clearly jealous of that one-on-one time, even though we explain that he wasn’t here yet. But I understand. Day care has been more in the equation since his birth.

He relishes those times when he can be alone with Grandma. Before he started kindergarten, he and I used to “do lunch” on Thursdays while his brother was at school. He always made sure any evidence of our trips to McDonald’s was removed from the car so Brother wouldn’t know and feel left out. He understands that feeling.

I must say I enjoyed those early days with the firstborn – especially the toddler years, when he enjoyed nothing so much as playing in the kitchen sink with a little running water. I know that was not very “green” of me, and he always ended up getting wet, so I had to keep a change of clothes on hand. But he was highly amused with “doing dishes.” Funny how he doesn’t find that task as enjoyable now.

And, of course, there were those “out of the mouths of babes” moments, such as the time we had an accidental encounter after I got out of the shower. “Grandma, your butt is really big.”

Gee, thanks for noticing. But how could I admonish him? It wasn’t as if he was lying.

And then there was his announcement to two black women outside his mother’s hospital room after his brother was born.

“I have a new baby brother. But he’s white.”

His father was mortified, and I laughed in embarrassment. Fortunately, the women took it with good humor.

And now he’s 10; still a little boy, but in many ways not. He often can be absolutely parental with his younger brother – when he’s not tormenting him.

He still likes to play with cars and Webkinz and the like, yet it was rather sad when I realized recently that he is getting too old to climb in the fast-food play areas.

He likes to watch cartoons, especially “SpongeBob SquarePants” and vintage “Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.” Yet he’s just as likely to watch college and professional sports on TV, and he surprises me with his knowledge of the players.

I watched with pride as he spent a recent Sunday afternoon on a sandbag line with his parents, wielding heavy bags without a complaint.

But it’s not as if he can’t at times drive his parents and his grandparents crazy with his noisy antics. After all, he is only 10.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514 or ktofflemire@forumcom.com